5 Steps Toward Healing a Broken Heart

5 Steps Toward Healing a Broken Heart

When you're mourning the loss of a relationship, your feelings may swing back and forth between anger and hope, elation and despair. So, for the brokenhearted, what's the best way to cope with the five stages of grief caused by a broken heart?

Five stages of grief and ways to heal a broken heart

1. DENIAL

What: "We're on a break, right?"
You can't believe it's happening. If you are in a relationship, you pretend that nothing is wrong. If you're newly single, you still have a hard time coming to terms with the situation. You convince yourself that it was 'just a fight' and that you will get back together. But the truth always catches up with you. 

How to cope:
If there are real problems in your relationship, do not avoid dealing with them. Sure, some people live their whole lives in denial, but doing this can rob you of real joy. If you've been dumped, it may take time to face the truth. When you recognize and acknowledge the truth, it will be easier to let go, overcome the effects of broken heart and move on with your life.

2. ANGER

What: "How dare you do that to me!"
No matter who ended the relationship, anger is a part of any grieving process. You may be angry at yourself for putting up with poor treatment for so long; you may regret your choices. Maybe you are angry at your friends or family for not warning you beforehand, you may direct nasty glances toward lovers in the park, and you may even lash out at God. All of this is normal, but you have to approach it in a healthy way; otherwise, your anger can quickly turn against you.

How to cope: 
Sometimes our thinking gets clouded when we dwell on the situation. It can fester and make us bitter, and bitterness can easily become toxic to future relationships. The Mayo Clinic offers some tips on how to get your anger under control. A few highlights include exercising as a form of stress relief, learning how to forgive, and practicing relaxation skills. Find the way that can work for you and be determined to stick with it.

3. BARGAINING

What: "Please, I promise I will never..."
Whether the relationship is in the process of ending or if it has ended, you might still try to fix what's broken. Some people beg and plead. We might even compromise on what we thought of as deal-breakers in order to "save" the relationship.

How to cope:
If you're planning to engage in bargaining, think carefully about the situation to avoid the grief resulting from a broken heart. Is this really a healthy relationship? (And if the two of you have broken up, the answer is likely to be no.) Do not be a doormat. Don't shoulder blame that is not yours in order to keep a person who isn't right for you. Remember the values that are most important in your life, and stick to your guns. 

4. DEPRESSION

What: "Oh, woe is me!"
Overwhelming sadness, lack of energy, feeling hopeless... Welcome to depression. This stage is a complicated stage to maneuver through. Sometimes our feelings are so overwhelming that they interfere with our ability to function.

How to cope:
Tread carefully during this stage. Many people are able to move through this stage normally, but others have a bit more trouble. Have you struggled with depression in the past? If so, it might be time to get the professional help you need. Everyone deals with his or her emotions differently. Do the things that make you feel good. However, if you begin to feel like life is no longer worth living, you must seek out professional help -- someone who will help you sort through your emotions and get you back on a positive path.

5. ACCEPTANCE

What: "I'm over it" (and you mean it).
The chapter is coming to a close. You may think less and less of your ex, and you might even be ready for a new relationship instead of the stress resulting from the broken heart. 

How to cope:
You might find that you missed flying solo, or if you are ready for a relationship again, there are things to take into consideration. Hopefully, you've had a chance to reflect on past relationships and were able to work out what went wrong and why. When you are ready to take the plunge again, you can make better choices and decisions. You'll have a better chance of picking the right partner -- because you'll recognize red flags and avoid them.

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